Project Car Diaries: Here Are the Cars We’re Resolving To Work on in 2024

New year, new old cars for The Drive’s staff to try and keep alive. Come for the inspiration, stay for the schadenfreude.

byAndrew P. Collins|
Project Car Diaries photo
Maddox Kay, Andrew Collins
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We're now weeks into 2024, and that pesky New Year's resolution to make smarter financial choices is officially out the window. Thank God. Welcome back to Project Car Diaries, The Drive's ongoing series where we chronicle the triumphs and tribulations of working on our various hoopties in an endless battle against entropy. This year, we're going bigger, bringing more cars and writers into the mix and expanding the kinds of stories we tell. Here's a taste of what we'll be tinkering with over the next 12 months.

If you're a regular PCD reader, you know what to expect: longform, in-depth entries showing how we succeeded or failed at one particular project. Part wrenching guide, part therapy session. We're going to keep doing those longer pieces for sure, but we're also going to add shorter installments to give a more well-rounded look at what it takes to own, maintain, and modify a wide selection of enthusiast rides. Expect experiments, hack jobs, tuner part testing, personal stories, rants, raves, and an all-encompassing look at why—as our friends at Donut always say—cars are pain.

The Drive's Project Car Fleet 2024

We've got a great list of machines from around the world and across decades in The Drive's stable right now. Old-school American iron is well represented between Hank's Charger and some old trucks. There's a good dose of JDM and tuner-car vibes too between my Civic, James' MR2, and our Mitsubishis. Maddox Kay has an old-new Mini he's already spent a lot of time fixing as well as one of the cheapest Porsche 911s in the land. I'm going to be messing more with my BMW E46 this year to round out the European flavor, too.

The Civic Type R, BMW 1er, and old Audi S4 we featured heavily in 2023 have departed but you may see a few more references to them as special guests. And speaking of guests, there will surely be a car or two in the mix that isn't in our rundown yet. But with all that said, here are the main characters of Project Car Diaries for 2024.

1969 Dodge Charger

Hank O'Hop
  • Owner: Hank O'Hop
  • Current State: Hard-running, driver/restomod. Solid body and paint. In need of interior and finishing touches
  • 2024 Plans: Suspension and brake upgrades, general cosmetic shapeups, assemble interior
  • Mood: Full bore

1988 Chevrolet Blazer

Kyle Cheromcha
  • Owner: Kyle Cheromcha
  • Current State: Powertrain is solid minus 10 different oil leaks. Interior is in tragic shape
  • 2024 Plans: Bigger tires, reinforce floor, begin swapping in tan interior
  • Mood: Cautiously optimistic

2006 Honda Civic Si

Andrew P. Collins
  • Owner: Andrew Collins
  • Current State: Street-friendly tuner car
  • 2024 Plans: Tip the scale from "daily drivable tuner" to "streetable track car," give it some unique visual identity
  • Mood: Ready to party

1998 Mitsubishi Montero

Andrew P. Collins
  • Owner: Andrew Collins
  • Current State: A few tweaks shy of perfection, if your "perfect" vehicle is a slow SUV that embodies Japanese off-roading in the '90s
  • 2024 Plans: Finally install some cool JDM parts I have stashed in my basement and truly stamp this project as "finished"
  • Mood: Aging gracefully

1975 International Scout

Andrew P. Collins
  • Owner: Andrew Collins
  • Current State: Hibernating
  • 2024 Plans: Changing the exterior color, maybe changing the seating arrangement, put it on a diet
  • Mood: Unmotivated

2003 BMW 330ci

Andrew P. Collins
  • Owner: Andrew Collins('s wife)
  • Current State: Starting to show its age
  • 2024 Plans: A light but meaningful refresh to keep it a great example of a classic Bimmer
  • Mood: Looking forward to retirement from daily driver duty to

1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo

  • Owner: James Gilboy
  • Current State: On jack stands for a clutch throwout bearing replacement. But while I'm in there ...
  • 2024 Plans: Replace synchro rings, refresh interior, reinstall stock sway bars, repair ABS. Maybe get wheels
  • Mood: How hard could it be?

1996 Mitsubishi Resort Runner

James Gilboy
  • Owner: James Gilboy
  • Current State: Daily driver.
  • 2024 Plans: Replace engine mounts, timing belt, steering rack boots, rebuild brake calipers, make alignment more aggressive
  • Mood: I mean, it drives good

1966 Ford F600 Dump Truck

Caleb Jacobs
  • Owner: Caleb Jacobs
  • Current State: Parked for months but close to running (sits like this every year until it’s called for duty)
  • 2024 Plans: Finally fix all the fuel issues, find a better hardware solution for fastening driver-rear axle shaft, weld overhead guard so it stops thumping on the cab
  • Mood: Mildly frustrated and soon to be extremely proud once it’s dumping dirt again

2003 Mini Cooper S

Maddox Kay
  • Owner: Maddox Kay
  • Current State: Recently rescued from years of neglect. Still needs dialing in and fine-tuning.
  • 2024 Plans: Address spongy brake pedal. Find out why the supercharger belt is screeching above 5,000 rpm. Install a few more OEM+ performance goodies, dyno-tune(?) and hopefully give Andrew’s Civic a run for its money at Lime Rock Autocross. Fix whatever else breaks because it’s a Mini.
  • Mood: *laughs nervously*

1999 Porsche 911

Maddox Kay
  • Owner: Maddox Kay
  • Current State: Mechanically sound, cosmetically just OK (how I like it)
  • 2024 Plans: Finally fit the lightweight wheels I bought last spring, address some botched head unit wiring from a previous owner, continue chasing down an intermittent hot-start issue. Road trip and drive the heck out of it
  • Mood: Excited

So Here's the Plan

DIY dreams, free time, and mechanical bravery vary a bit among the folks on that list. So you'll see a range of projects from the simple (my secret plan to put eyelashes on Maddox's Porsche for lols) to more complex and involved (Hank changing the suspension and drivetrain geometry of his dad's derelict Mopar muscle car).

We'll use these diary entries to test tools and parts, as well as wrenching techniques. You can start looking forward to new installments at least once a week starting, well, with this post!

I've got a set of custom coilovers on the way for our Civic Si that I'm looking forward to comparing with my excellent Koni shock setup. That should be a great place to discuss whether or not coils are worth the investment. I'm also super close to finishing (if that's ever really possible) my Montero project.

Caleb has all kinds of wacky dump truck adventures to go on. Maddox is going to tell us more about the Euro life, and how he keeps three cars stashed in NYC without going insane or losing them to parking enforcement. James is sure to run into more trouble trying to keep his JDM Mitsubishi running, and we're hoping this is the year that our Editor-In-Chief Kyle tells us more about his family heirloom K5 Chevy Blazer.

Here's hoping we get a lot more done, a lot more seat time, and a whole lot more people indoctrinated in the cult of keeping old cars alive.

stripe
Project Car Diaries